Hospitals are renewing their sense of purpose and putting patients back at the center of the healthcare experience, according to a newly released benchmarking study on patient experience from The Beryl Institute. The momentum behind patient experience, which The Beryl Institute defines as “the sum of all interactions shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care,” continues to build, with more than half of hospitals in the study reporting progress in advancing this effort.
This shift in priorities can’t happen soon enough for healthcare consumers, who expect and demand more from their healthcare providers than ever before due to skyrocketing healthcare costs and the national push for more affordable, accessible care. 75 percent of consumers polled by The Beryl Institute—which interviewed patients as well as providers worldwide—said their past experiences shape how they make their healthcare decisions.
One of the insights we found most interesting in this year’s report is growing emphasis on employee engagement in hospitals committed to the experience of their patients. Perceptive leaders understand that successful interactions with patients start by supporting those who deliver the care. As a healthcare technology innovator, we see firsthand how powerful a positive culture can be for hospitals in the midst of transformative changes. Here are seven other insights from the study and our take on what they mean for hospitals.Hospitals see patient experience as more than just outcomes. More hospitals (65 percent) are clarifying what it means to them, and their definitions go beyond simply delivering better quality, safety and service. 89 percent say patient and family engagement are integral to improving patient care, while 79 percent identify employee engagement as key to driving this effort. Hospitals are seeing the value of communication, rounding and empathetic gestures like sitting down with patients and looking them in the eye as essential to creating better, safer, more positive experiences for them.
- Hospitals see patient experience as more than just outcomes. More hospitals (65 percent) are clarifying what the experience means to them, and their definitions go beyond simply delivering better quality, safety and service. 89 percent say patient and family engagement are integral to improving their experience, while 79 percent identify employee engagement as key to driving this effort. Hospitals are seeing the value of communication, rounding and empathetic gestures like sitting down with patients and looking them in the eye as essential to creating better, safer, more positive experiences for them.
- Roles for chief experience officers and staff are growing. Seven out of 10 of the providers surveyed report having a senior leader on staff responsible for patient experience. Hospitals, in particular, have moved away from leaving experience efforts in the hands of committees, with 58 percent employing an experience leader. In fact, CXO positions are among the fastest growing roles in hospitals, reports Managed Healthcare Executive magazine. Many of these leaders are charged with giving caregivers the tools they need for improving interactions with patients, the article notes. A modest but growing number of hospitals (35 percent) have teams of five or more people devoted to patient care and experience.
- More hospitals are relying on input from patients and their families. The growth in consumerism, social media platforms and skyrocketing healthcare costs have encouraged patients and their families to become more vocal about their hospital experiences. Consumers are showing a growing desire to actively participate in discussions and decisions about their care. Hospitals are recognizing this and starting to listen. 67 percent use patient and family advisors to guide experience efforts, and 62 percent have formal advisory councils in place. Having this firsthand perspective from the bedside gives hospital leaders vital feedback for developing the most relevant, impactful solutions for patients, as this Institute for Healthcare Improvement post explores.
- Leadership and culture outpace cost and mandates in driving patient experience improvements. While government-mandated surveys like HCAHPS still influence efforts to improve patient experience, the desire from top leadership to provide a better experience and make the hospital the provider of choice in the community carry just as much weight. Half of all hospitals expressed their desire to lead in this arena, while 41 percent cited their community reputation as the driving force for making improvements. Fewer hospitals cited the movement toward value-based payment programs or other profit-driven reasons as motivating factors.
- Competing priorities and cultural resistance to change pose the biggest challenges for hospitals working to improve their patient experience. Most hospitals (48 percent) agreed that patient care efforts must start from the top, but 42 percent cited competing priorities within the organization as their biggest roadblock to success. Cultural resistance to doing things differently also hampers progress for many hospitals, though fewer seemed to struggle with that factor than in previous years. Other roadblocks impeding efforts include muddled leadership, caregiver burnout and a lack of budget and resources.
- Hospitals know that engaging employees is vital to creating a positive experience for patients. Most hospitals (68 percent) listed highly engaged staff and employees as the most important factor in creating a positive patient environment. More than half of respondents also listed having a positive, strong organizational culture as a vital factor for success. By focusing on caring for frontline employees like nurses and giving them support and reasons to feel enthusiastic about their work, hospitals create a nurturing environment that naturally leads to better patient experiences and outcomes, as this Forbes article illustrates.
- Hospitals are looking beyond HCAHPS to evaluate patient satisfaction. Though mandated surveys still have their place in measuring the patient experience, more hospitals (61 percent) are circulating their own internal surveys to evaluate how they are doing. At least half of the hospitals (53 percent) say they follow up with patients and/or caretakers via phone after discharge for feedback. A growing number also use bedside surveys (47 percent) and social media (46) for real-time input. Exploring multiple ways to monitor experiences of patients through their eyes can reveal so much that might never surface if hospitals just use one measuring stick, as this Becker’s Hospital Review article notes.
Patient experience is the cornerstone of our mission at Amplion. We are focused helping hospitals reduce caregiver burnout, enhance communication between care teams and their patients, and raise the bar on quality, safety and experience through our next-generation nurse call technology. Our data-driven platform uses smart technology and workflow optimization to improve nurse call, care coordination, patient safety and alarm management. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn how we can help you close the loop on care and build culture that empowers both patients and their caregivers.